This quick and easy dhal recipe is a nourishing meat free meal. I personally try to have regular meat free meals and this dhal is nutritious and filling. It’s also great for a last minute meal as I always have the ingredients in the pantry. It’s my backstop when I forget to take meat from the freezer or if the day escapes me. Serve it with rice or quinoa and a big leafy salad, or some steamed vegetables and you have a perfectly balanced meal.
The red lentils are full of fibre, many beneficial plant nutrients and offer a vegetarian form of protein, the almond meal completes it (as does serving it with rice or quinoa). The garlic, ginger and various spices are great digestives, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and immune boosting. The coconut milk is wonderful for your immune system, read more about it here.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary requirements.
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My Quick and Easy Dhal is a fast, nutritious meal that the whole family will love. It's one of the most popular recipes here at Well Nourished.
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced or crushed
- 2-3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely diced
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 350 grams tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 200 grams (1 cup) red lentils
- 400 grams tin coconut milk or cream (the cream gives a richer, creamier consistency)
- 350 grams (1 ½ cups) water, chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons almond meal
- Dried chilli, to taste
- Sea salt, a good pinch (or more to taste)
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, juice and zest to finish
- Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
- I have a curry leaf tree and also add 5-6 leaves
In a medium sized pot, over a low to moderate heat, add a little coconut oil or ghee. Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and spices for two minutes.
Now add the grated carrot, zucchini, tomatoes, lentils, coconut milk, water and almond meal. Season well, stir and leave to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and most of the moisture is absorbed.
Finish with coriander leaves and lime. Season again if necessary (sea salt lift the flavours in this so make sure you add it) .
- I always serve this with brown rice or quinoa and either fresh or dried chilli so the heat can be adjusted by each individual.
- Chop the garlic and ginger, 2 seconds, speed 5. Add the onion, carrot, and zucchini and chop 5-10 seconds speed 5.
- Add the spices and a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil and sauté 5 minutes, speed 2, temp 100.
- Now add the tomatoes, lentils, coconut milk, water and almond meal, a good pinch of sea salt and pepper, and cook 20 minutes, reverse speed 1, temp 100.
- Serve with fresh lime and coriander leaves.
Choose coconut oil and coconut milk.
Replace the coconut milk with full-fat natural yoghurt and choose ghee or butter.
Serve over a baked potato or sweet potato, cauliflower rice or quinoa.
Just leave the almond meal out.
Turn it into a soup
Add a little extra stock and blend to make a delicious Indian red lentil soup.
Make it meaty
You can use this as a curry base (sauce) and add any meat you like to this.
Make it go further
Add in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas
You can also add extra vegetables. Pumpkin, sweet potato, peas, chopped celery, beans, cauliflower, and broccoli would work well. I also love a couple of handfuls of baby spinach added at the very end.
Mineral and metabolism boost
Add a teaspoon of dulse flakes
A little natural yogurt or coconut cream on top of the dhal also often helps little ones adjust to the spiciness. This recipe freezes really well (the flavour actually improves with time).
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